Las In The D!

Las in the D was an amazing experience. We learned so many things and made truly amazing memories. I was so excited for my cohort to see how incredibly different the city of Detroit has become, and to contribute to the city’s great comeback. This excursion encompassed: A trip to the Jalen Rose Leadership Academy, a tour of the Quicken Loans buildings, leisure time at the Detroit Institute of Arts Museum, an overnight stay at the Outdoor Adventure Center, and a day of service at Cass Community Social Services. Although we may have spent only two days in Detroit, we all learned so many crucial things, and grew as individuals that will continue to impact the city of Detroit.

Jalen Rose Leadership Academy

When we first arrived at JRLA, I had the impression that we would be teaching these high school students about the different leadership styles that exist. This was not the case, as I quickly learned that these students already knew about leadership. During our facilitation activities with these high schooler, they continually demonstrated their advanced leadership skills, and taught my cohort that they understood the different leadership concepts, and how to apply those concepts to real life. I was blown away by their knowledge, and I think that both these students and my cohort learned from each other. Although our time together was short, both the JRLA students and those from CMU impacted each other immensely, and inspired one another to continue to do great things inside and out of the city of Detroit.

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Quicken Loans

As a Quicken Loans intern and Campus Ambassador, I have tried to talk to my friends about the amazing things QL has done to help bring back the city of Detroit. I have also tried to tell them about my amazing internship experience their in the summer of 2016. When I heard that we would be touring QL on our excursion, I became ecstatic because I would be able to not just tell my friends about this amazing company, but they will actually get to see it. On our tour, we saw many buildings and spoke to John Fikany who is the QL Vice President of Strategy. He told us about the passion that QL has in bringing back the city, and how that passion drives their success. He inspired many of my cohort members to apply for an internship and left us with the knowledge that their is an opportunity for everyone at Quicken Loans.

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Detroit Institute of Arts Museum

This museum never fails to take my breath away. I have been to the DIA many times, and with each visit I see something new and somehow more amazing than the previous gallery. This museum is a reminder that their are countless cultures, each with their own beautiful and unique traits. The DIA breathes life and creativity though the masterpieces it displays, and provides people from all over the world to learn about the beauty of art. It is in the top six museums list to visit in the U.S., and allows people from three surrounding counties to enter for free. It struggled in the pass to reach its current tier, but it overcame those challenges through the determination of the people who saw its potential for greatness. I will continue to visit this museum as its art is always changing, and I will do anything that I can to help this establishment continue to educate the world about Art.

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Outdoor Adventure Center

As our time at the DIA came to an end, we headed over to the Outdoor Adventure Center. Here we stayed overnight, and learned about this establishment that provides the feel of Michigan’s outdoor life in the center of the city. It educates people about the different aspects of the outdoors, and allows one to discover their potential passions for nature. The relationship between CMU and OAC continues to grow as does the LAS in the D program, and  look forward to the opportunities that OAC will provide for CMU students in the future.

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Cass Community Social Services

As a returning volunteer at CCSS, I was well aware of the services they provided, and what to expect. This organization provides services for the people of Detroit such as: providing food, housing, health services, and employment programs designed to get people back on their feet. Their contribution to the city is crucial, as they have helped the homeless population in immense ways. Both of my times at CCSS, I have had the opportunity to construct rubber matts made from recyclable tires. This service provides jobs for people who need it, and is a great way to generate money for this program and the others provided at CCSS. Sandals and coasters are also made and bring in good revenue. Volunteering here, I have become more aware of the reality that these kinds of programs are essential if we want Detroit to make a full come back. These programs nurture people and shape them to become leaders in their own right and become the back bone of Detroit. As a citizen of Detroit, I will continue to volunteer my time at CCSS and other non-profits around the city to help the city make a full recovery. I will also strive to implement new programs that help develop leadership in the people who are a part of the programs, as I feel that leadership is what can help Detroit become the number one city again.

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As I reflected on my experience I had during LAS in the D, I decided that this trip was not about me or my cohort. I decided that this trip was to show us that with our skills and knowledge of leadership, we have the ability to help the city, or any community, overcome challenges. Yes we had fun and made memories that will last forever, but what we truly accomplished was serving a community and inspired leadership that will help to bring it out of its dark age. Accomplishing this, I realized that I have the responsibility as a leader to give back to my community, and encourage others to stand up and serve their communities as well.

Another important realization I had while reflecting on this trip is this: Either in a corporate setting or community service setting, there are ways to give back to your community. If you have the passion to do something, then you can do it. Quicken Loans and Cass Community Social Services are both prime examples of this, and work to make Detroit the best city it can be. They have given my insight on a city that I have lived in for years, and enabled me to effectively make a difference. I plan to work with these organizations and more in the future, to ensure that Detroit is on the path to the greatest come back in history.